Ah, Social Media, the true main rival for books. Much more so than TV or Radio, because Social Media actually entails reading.
As an Indie Author, you need to embrace social media, rather than view it as the competition though. Social Media isn't going anywhere, and despite it being a huge timesuck drawing even us authors away from our writing, it is a way of connecting with possible customers that simply cannot be overlooked.
So how do you use Social Media?
Until recently, Social Media was an awesome free advertising source. Twitter in particular was epic, thanks to hashtags. Watching The Walking Dead and want to post a question for Chris Hardwick's after show, The Talking Dead? Easy, tweet "#TheWalkingDead" then your question. Now anyone following the #TheWalkingDead hashtags, will see your tweet on their timeline. This means if you have a good zombie book you'd like to share, you can also tweet, during the show, "Zombies vs Supersoldiers in the new Thriller Armageddon Z, available now ion Amazon, #TheWalkingDead". Yes, it's spammy, but it worked.
Even better, new releases are a cinch to announce on Twitter: "#New on #Kindle, A Cold Dark War, amzn.com/B01CXLGRHI, #Thriller, #Magic, #Monsters". Heck, you could even throw in a #Free tag, if you're doing a promo day. Anyone looking for #Kindle entries on Twitter might then see your little advert and click the link.
At least, that's the way it used to work. Twitter, and Facebook (who also has hashtags) recently decided that they wanted a slice of that advertising revenue, so they've monetized tweets and posts, requiring you to pay to play. On Facebook it's quite troublesome, as you could be talking about something non-book, but only a handful of people will see it unless you "boost your post".
How well does Social Medias advertising work? I've found it's pretty good, even with paid posting, for free books. Especially because you can target specific groups. Facebooks ads are particularly great at this targeting, allowing you to post to people with specific interests. Got as magical realism book? Target Dresden Files/JIm Butcher followers.
Ads aside, there's one other pretty important way to use Social Media. Connecting with readers. Social media is all about socializing. Yes, it's easy to crawl into the dark basement and hammer away at your latest epic, shielded from strangers. But by being part of an online community enables you to met people who otherwise might not have ever heard of you or your books. Without Spamming them, you might get them to look into who you are, and maybe that will lead to them checking out your books. Maybe--a pretty big maybe, I think.
Moreover, Facebook in particular has all sorts of groups that welcome authors and readers to discuss books. What better way to see what people like/dislike in your genre of choice than to join a group dedicated to that genre?
Check out social media today--just don't forget to do some authoring in between posting...